Why do the wicked prosper?


Psalm 73


Why do the wicked prosper?


~ ~ ~


Answers

from

God





Almost every Christian has asked the question:


Why do the wicked prosper?


~


AND

At one time or another

Almost every Christian has asked:


Why is my life so hard?




Let's look deeper

into these questions.

______


Why is my life so hard,

and others have an easy life?



In this movie scene,

Dean Cain's character visits his mother

whose memory

has been taken from her.






The above movie clip

has a

huge impact

on me

every time I watch it.

Powerful...


I believe God wants

it

to be

Powerful

in your life.


~ ~ ~


Thousands of years ago,

David

- author of Psalm 73 -

was seeking 

an answer

to why the wicked prosper.


-

Join me as we look

at his journey

toward answers.



Psalm 73

NLT

Verse 1

The Blessings of a Pure Heart


Verse 1 - Truly God is good to Israel,

                 to those whose hearts are pure.


Verse 1 has David sharing his beliefs,

and

he had had those beliefs for years.


~


But in the next few verses,

David tells us that 

he began to let

 - experiences -

that he had

and

 - experiences -

that

he had seen and heard

  take precedence

over his beliefs.



David's faith was slipping

so

his feet were slipping.

~

David began

- to envy -

wicked people

who were prospering.

(See the Scripture below.)



2 But as for me, I almost lost my footing.

   My feet were slipping, and I was almost gone.


3 For I envied the proud

   when I saw them prosper despite their wickedness.




The next few verses give illustrations

of the wicked prospering.


I am  - not -  including them

here

(All the verses in Psalm 73 are written at the bottom of this page in several translations.)


David continued to ponder

this subject.


In verses 13-14 (below)

he began to wonder - 


"What good has it done me

to keep my heart pure?"


Verses 13-14 

written below

are key verses

in Psalm 73



13 Did I keep my heart pure for nothing?

    Did I keep myself innocent for no reason?


14 I get nothing but trouble all day long;

    every morning brings me pain.


David had been trying hard to do the right thing.

So he began to wonder - 



"What good has it done me

to try so hard?"



It would probably be difficult

to find a Christian

who has

never

envied

the prosperity of the wicked.





In the next verse - verse 15,

David brings us 

 - to his present day as he is writing the psalm -

and

he says that

  - if -

he had begun to speak like that

to others,

he would have felt like a traitor to God's people.


15 If I had really spoken this way to others,

    I would have been a traitor to your people.


In verse 16,

David takes us

back again

 - to his past -

and his past pondering.




16 So I tried to understand why the wicked prosper.

    But what a difficult task it is!




David lets us know

that he spent

a lot of time

truly

trying

to understand

why the wicked prosper.

~

Perhaps he thought,


"It doesn't make sense...


God is in charge

and

God tells us to do the right thing.


So why do the wicked prosper?"




David was having a difficult time

coming up with an answer.


Verse 17 brings an answer.



Verse 17



17 Then I went into your sanctuary, O God,

    and I finally understood the destiny of the wicked.


In verse 17,


David went to a location

where he felt close to God

and there

he sought God with all his heart.



David tells us that he -  finally -  understood.


During that time,

David finally found

the key for his peace of mind.



For David

the key is to

FULLY

ponder the

DESTINY

of the wicked.

~

Eternity is a

LONG,

LONG, LONG, LONG, LONG, LONG, LONG

TIME.

- - -

On the other hand,

this earthly life is

short.


*Note that later down the page

I will give some thoughts that

additionally added understanding for me personally.



In the next verse - verse 18,

written below

David gives us some of his

conversation

with the Lord

as he was getting his understanding.

~

David says that

when people walk away from God,

they begin to walk down a slippery slope.


For those who continue that path

and give in

to wickedness,

their path leads right up to

 - and then over -

a cliff of destruction.


18 Truly, you put them on a slippery path

    and send them sliding over the cliff to destruction.


As wicked people move away from God,

they don't perceive anything wrong

in their life

until

destruction

overtakes them

and often

destruction comes

in an instant.




19 In an instant they are destroyed,

    completely swept away by terrors.




In the next verse,

David is speaking about wicked people

who have gone

so far

away from God -

that they not only

openly express

  disdain for God

but

  they have begun to

mock and laugh at God.


And sometimes it seems strange to us

but sometimes

God laughs at their puny threats.


See Psalm 2:4 and Psalm 37:12-13.


20 When you arise, O Lord,

    you will laugh at their silly ideas

    as a person laughs at dreams in the morning.



In Psalm 73,

David addresses the arrogance of the wicked.


Mocking and laughing at God


When I (Beth) was growing up and in my young adult years,

I never heard people mocking God

and

laughing at God.


But now

I find that it is a common occurrence.


* * *


At this point in reading Psalm 73

David takes us to the time

when he realized the

 - bitterness -

that had taken root in his heart.


Primarily

  it came from thoughts of the wicked prospering.


In addition,

I believe that

he had developed bitterness for those

who mock and laugh at his God.


Verse 21

written below

is another key verse in Psalm 73.


It addresses

David's bitterness.



21 Then I realized that my heart was bitter,

    and I was all torn up inside.



David's bitterness was making him

feel

miserable.


22 I was so foolish and ignorant—   

I must have seemed like a senseless animal to you.*

* David is addressing God.


As David dealt with his bitterness,

he realized how

foolish and ignorant he was.

~

He should have never

envied

the wicked.



David felt embarrassed

by his previous thoughts and attitudes.


Verse 23 below is

David's next step

in his spiritual growth:



David's next phase in his spiritual growth

took him -

straight into the arms of God.

God calls all of us into his arms.

God loves ALL of us.


God even loves those who are very wicked,
and
he wants them
to repent
and therefore go to heaven when they die.

John 3:16


Matthew 23:37

tells us

that God even wants to hug the wicked -

but they

won't let him.


God is a trinity - God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. They are all God - one God in three persons. 

In John 14:9 Jesus said,
"If you have seen me, you have seen the Father."

If you want more understand about the Trinity click:
Trinity


David realizes that the

love of God

had never left him.


David now felt loved and accepted.


David felt like a

beloved child of God

and

he felt like he

belonged in God's family. 

 

23 Yet I still belong to you;

    you hold my right hand.

David realized that God

was still

holding his hand and guiding him.


24 You guide me with your counsel,

    leading me to a glorious destiny.


David could now easily see the hand of God guiding him.

And

David began to get a glimpse

of the glorious destiny God had for him.




In verse 25 below

David is letting us know

that he now realizes that

God is the best gift in life.

That means

- that God himself -

is

The   Best   Gift...


Because

being able to talk with God

and

live for God

is

THE BEST GIFT

God gives us.

So David happily declares that,

"I desire you more than anything on earth."



25 Whom have I in heaven but you?

    I desire you more than anything on earth.


David declares that

God is the most important thing in his life.


~ ~ ~ ~


Then in verse 26

David says,

26 My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak,

    but God remains the strength of my heart;

    he is mine forever!



David has solidified his heart toward God.


BUT...

David explains in verse 27

what happens to those

who abandon God...


27 Those who desert him will perish,

    for you [God] destroy those who abandon you.



Many people desert and abandon God,

when they see the wicked prosper.

If

those people do not

come back to God and get right with God

before they die,

they will perish and go to hell.

- - -


So David wants us to get our heart right with God.

David urges us

in this psalm

and in a related psalm (Psalm 37) 

to:


Fret not thyself because of evildoers,

neither be envious against the workers of iniquity,

For they shall soon

be cut down like the grass,

and

wither as the green herb.

Trust in the Lord, and do good.


Psalm 37:1-3a


In the last verse of Psalm 73,

David wisely proclaims to all of us:


"I am going to get close to God

and

try to stay close to God.

God is my sovereign Lord and my shelter.

AND I WILL

tell everyone

about the wonderful things that God does."



28 But as for me, how good it is to be near God!

    I have made The Sovereign Lord my shelter,

    and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things you do.


The Sovereign Lord


When we look at the wicked prospering

and when we look at

our difficulties

and our upsetting emotions -

it doesn't seem fair.

But

when God encouraged me to look at it from

God's Fathering Heart

then

I (Beth) understood.


My Personal Journey


God designed Psalm 73 to be a significant help

to us

yet

each of us may still need some

personalized understanding.

-

As I went through this journey, and as I pondered

David's words, I was helped a lot. Yet...

as I continued

to seek God

- as David did -

I gained personalized help from God.



One of the greatest things

God revealed to me

was a deep revelation

that God has

  a

Heart of a Loving Father.



Opening my Eyes


Most of us accept the idea that God loves us.

But

we don't think about how much God loves

EACH person

no matter Good or Bad.


We read about the depth of God's love in
Psalm 139.

In Psalm 139 God lovingly created

EACH

one of us.

He sees each of us as HIS CHILD.

When I think like a mother,

I can understand

God's love for his kids - even his wicked kids.


God aches at the thought of being separated from

his rebellious kids for eternity.


As a mother, it makes

all the sense in the world

to me

that he would want

to allow blessings to the wicked.

 


As I pondered God -  the Loving Father

who LOVES the wicked,

I realized

that it is only on this earth

that he can bless them -

wow...

Because the wicked are going to be

Eternally Punished.


That is a LONG Time


I saw that  - when -  God does allow good things,

it is from a Father's Heart

that aches

at the thought of spending eternity

separated from blessing

his wicked kids in any way.


What about someone you love?

I urge you to think about someone you love

WHO IS

rebellious toward God

and

heading toward hell.


Doesn't your heart fill with compassion?



David went through this journey

from bitterness

to joy and satisfaction in God.

God encourages us to take that journey also!

That journey is healing to our soul!

Below is a song

that helps us

express:


Lord,

You are my

Desire!


Psalm 73

New Living Translation

Truly God is good to Israel,
    to those whose hearts are pure.
2 But as for me, I almost lost my footing.
    My feet were slipping, and I was almost gone.
3 For I envied the proud
    when I saw them prosper despite their wickedness.
4 They seem to live such painless lives;
    their bodies are so healthy and strong.


5 They don’t have troubles like other people;
    they’re not plagued with problems like everyone else.

6 They wear pride like a jeweled necklace
    and clothe themselves with cruelty.

7 These fat cats have everything
    their hearts could ever wish for!

8 They scoff and speak only evil;
    in their pride they seek to crush others.

9 They boast against the very heavens,
    and their words strut throughout the earth.

10 And so the people are dismayed and confused,
    drinking in all their words.

11 “What does God know?” they ask.
    “Does the Most High even know what’s happening?”

12 Look at these wicked people—
    enjoying a life of ease while their riches multiply.


13 Did I keep my heart pure for nothing?
    Did I keep myself innocent for no reason?

14 I get nothing but trouble all day long;
    every morning brings me pain.


15 If I had really spoken this way to others,
    I would have been a traitor to your people.

16 So I tried to understand why the wicked prosper.
    But what a difficult task it is!

17 Then I went into your sanctuary, O God,
    and I finally understood the destiny of the wicked.

18 Truly, you put them on a slippery path
    and send them sliding over the cliff to destruction.

19 In an instant they are destroyed,
    completely swept away by terrors.

20 When you arise, O Lord,
    you will laugh at their silly ideas
    as a person laughs at dreams in the morning.


21 Then I realized that my heart was bitter,
    and I was all torn up inside.

22 I was so foolish and ignorant—
    I must have seemed like a senseless animal to you.

23 Yet I still belong to you;
    you hold my right hand.

24 You guide me with your counsel,
    leading me to a glorious destiny.

25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
    I desire you more than anything on earth.

26 My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak,
    but God remains the strength of my heart;
    he is mine forever.

27 Those who desert him will perish,
    for you destroy those who abandon you.

28 But as for me, how good it is to be near God!
    I have made the Sovereign Lord my shelter,
    and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things you do.

NCL - New Century Version


God is truly good to Israel,
    to those who have pure hearts.


2 But I had almost stopped believing;
    I had almost lost my faith
3 because I was jealous of proud people.
    I saw wicked people doing well.

4 They are not suffering;
    they are healthy and strong.
5 They don’t have troubles like the rest of us;
    they don’t have problems like other people.

6 They wear pride like a necklace
    and put on violence as their clothing.
7 They are looking for profits
    and do not control their selfish desires.

8 They make fun of others and speak evil;
    proudly they speak of hurting others.
9 They brag to the sky.
    They say that they own the earth.

10 So their people turn to them
    and give them whatever they want.
11 They say, “How can God know?
    What does God Most High know?”

12 These people are wicked,
    always at ease, and getting richer.

13 So why have I kept my heart pure?
    Why have I kept my hands from doing wrong?
14 I have suffered all day long;
    I have been punished every morning.

15 God, if I had decided to talk like this,
    I would have let your people down.

16 I tried to understand all this,
    but it was too hard for me to see
17 until I went to the Temple of God.
    Then I understood what will happen to them.

18 You have put them in danger;
    you cause them to be destroyed.
19 They are destroyed in a moment;
    they are swept away by terrors.

20 It will be like waking from a dream.
    Lord, when you rise up, they will disappear.

21 When my heart was sad
    and I was angry,
22 I was senseless and stupid.
    I acted like an animal toward you.

23 But I am always with you;
    you have held my hand.
24 You guide me with your advice,
    and later you will receive me in honor.

25 I have no one in heaven but you;
    I want nothing on earth besides you.
26 My body and my mind may become weak,
    but God is my strength.
    He is mine forever.

27 Those who are far from God will die;
    you destroy those who are unfaithful.


28 But I am close to God, and that is good.
    The Lord God is my protection.
    I will tell all that you have done.

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